How Croatia Changed My Life by Carey Carpenter

Enjoy the inspiring story of Carey Carpenter on how a visit to Croatia changed her life!

The most important decision I have ever made, without even knowing it at the time, was booking a last minute trip to the mesmerizing country of Croatia. I have always had an adventurous soul, so when a travel friend invited me on a spontaneous sailing trip along the Dalmatian coast it was a no-brainer. Croatia changed my life. No seriously, CHANGED my life. I knew very little about the country and honestly couldn’t even locate it on a map before agreeing to go.

The adventure started in Split, after which we sailed to Hvar, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Trstenik, and Makarska, and ending the journey with a day trip to Plitvice National Park. All equally amazing, each place stole my heart in a different way. Trstenik was remarkably special. With a population of about 116 people and no tourists, we practically had this charming quaint wine town all to ourselves. A small dock was discovered; of course we frolicked around in the salty Adriatic Sea, sipping on wine, without a care in the world. Dubrovnik captured everything I love about travelling: the old town, nightlife, amazing views, beaches, and amazing food. Need I say more? The island of Korcula, claimed to be the birthplace of Marco Polo, has unbelievably stunning views from the tower of his home. Hvar, a trendier island full of yachts, has a vibrant nightlife and epic music festivals. Makarska gives a more local energy as most Croatians holiday here. Split is always buzzing with good vibes, whether you are at the waterfront sipping wine or in the side ally cobblestone streets enjoying some tasty gelato. As you can see, you just really can’t go wrong anywhere you go!

In my opinion the best way to see this amazing country is by boat because there is just so many beautiful places to see that are most easily accessed by water. And hey, who wouldn’t want to spend a week sailing the Adriatic Sea? The food. I repeat – the food is incredible! Mainly Italian influenced, with seafood dishes that are making my mouth water just reminiscing about them – mussels, octopus, and grilled squid in particular. I was also introduced to Croatian “ish” time from our local guide to Plitvice National Park – a refreshing mentality where time isn’t important, and to just enjoy the moment. You will quickly adapt, trust me.

Croatia is captivating, stunningly beautiful, and will capture your heart in a way that no other place can. It certainly did for me. On my last night in Croatia I made a promise to myself that I will return every year and explore more of this country. For my second trip to Croatia I had to return to Split and Dubrovnik for some of my favourite delicacies! I also explored the city of Bol on the island of Brac. Bol is a sensational smaller town where I leisurely listened to live music on the dock and picked up fresh fruit for breakfast at the local markets. This September will mark my third trip and I can’t wait to explore new places I haven’t visited yet, with plans to see more of northern Croatia and Krka National Park.

Before I go, I will leave you with what Croatia did for me. It opened my eyes to a new world, a world of possibilities, and something that I felt was unreachable until sailing this coastline. I learned so much about Croatian history, the people, the culture and the food. It is hard to even formulate words to express how exceptional Croatia will make you feel. I have travelled all over the world before this trip, but Croatia was the one place that when I left, I decided it was time to leave my 9-5 job and move to Europe for this lifestyle.

Although it is more popular with European and Australian travelers, it’s becoming more mainstream for Americans. Do yourself a favor, book a trip to Croatia now. What are you waiting for? Do it! NOW!

Carey Carpenter